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    KingBadfish's Oxenfree (XBONE)

    [September 28, 2017 09:11:23 AM]
    After my last gaming session playing Oxenfree, it seemed I only had about 45 minutes left in the game. It certainly was an eventful 45 minutes though. It turns out that I was right in that everything was leading up to a huge decision for the main character Alex. As the game plays out, Alex and her friends, in a Scooby-Dooesque mystery team think they have found a way to get Clarissa out of this other dimension and get them all off the island. Throughout this process, the interdimensional ďghostsĒ are trying to influence your decision one way or the other. When you finally get to what feels like the last decision, the ďghostsĒ make you one more offer. If you let them have Clarissa, you and your friends will be allowed to leave the island, no questions asked. I had been playing on the side of good for the duration of the entire game, and when given the option to sacrifice myself so that my friends could live on, I didnít think twice about it. Itís certainly an interesting choice ethically. Sacrifice yourself, or sacrifice someone else so that you can live to see another day.

    After sacrificing myself, I went into another dream state, except this one wasnít dark and nightmarish like the ones before. In this dream, Alex was in her house, and her deceased brother was there as well. The atmosphere was almost heavenly, very bright with sort of a fog. You are given a couple more dialogue choices, though I donít know how those play out for the ending at this stage in the game. Then, in a flash, Iím waking up on the ferry and all my friends are there. I thought that maybe by sacrificing myself, Iíve actually saved everyone. The game then takes you to an end scene where it basically tells you how your decisions have impacted each characterís life. You are given one final dialog box when given the opportunity to pick your own future. I chose that Alex is going to take some time off. Then the game starts over!! As if by sacrificing Alex, youíve doomed her to spend the rest of eternity living this weekend over and over. Crazy to think about. I have never been more tempted to play a game through a second time just to see if I can change the outcome. The ethical choices the developers have forced you to make take a pretty emotional toll, at least they did with me. They also expose players to some harsh topics, like depression, coping with loss, sacrifice and suicide. Iíve thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and itís one I probably wonít forget for a long time.

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    [September 27, 2017 05:33:55 PM]
    As I continued playing Oxenfree for a little over an hour yesterday, I seem to be further ostracizing myself (as Alex) from my friends on the island. This game really likes to play with your emotions. The main character Alex struggles to cope with her brotherís death, and it comes up in conversation often, especially with Jonas, her new stepbrother. After yesterdayís gaming session, I didnít know if Clarissa was dead or not. Sheís apparently not, rather sheís been taken into an alternate dimension. In some sort of dream state, hallucination, temporal vortex thing, Clarissa blames Alex for Michaelís death, saying that if she hadnít urged him to stick around he would have left town and he would have been safe. Naturally Alex gets defensive, and seems to feel a certain level of guilt. Every conversation I have continues to guide the story. At first I thought these decisions were going to result in minor changes to the storyline, but they all seem to be leading up to something much larger.

    As I said before, the game toys with your emotions quite a bit. On more than one occasion, a friend has either died or been sucked off into some alternate dimension. This has happened with Clarissa, Jonas and Ren. I assume it will happen to Nona at some point as well. Iím not sure if this is just how the game plays out normally, or if this is a result of a decision that I made during dialogue. The dialogue choice is usually an empathetic response of some sort, a malevolent response or an indifferent one. Iíve tried to err on the side of good for the duration of the game, but honestly that might not be a good thing. Some of these decisions might seem like the right thing for one character, but might end up hurting someone else. Weíll see how it finishes, I feel like things are leading up to something big. I feel like each decision I make is becoming more and more important.
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    [September 26, 2017 02:56:50 PM]
    I have played Oxenfree on Xbox One for a little over 2 hours now. So far, I can say that I am impressed. Within the first few minutes you see your first decision. Playing as the main character Alex, you are given the option to choose sides between your new stepbrother Jonas and your childhood friend Ren. The game does a great job with the dialogue. By creating this walk and talk approach, the developer Night School Studio has created a very organic approach to conversation. Every dialog box gives the player a decision, a side to choose. Each of these decisions guides how the game plays out and how, as Alex, your relationship with your friends develops. In one instance, you are given a choice to explore a cave or stay on the beach. Though I am not sure what the result would have been had I not gone into the cave, going into the cave was basically what started the actual story of the game by unleashing some sort of paranormal entity on the island. As I followed the story further, my dialogue decisions resulted in another acquaintance, Clarissa, jumping from a window to her death (we think). Alex, and in turn I, feel guilty when this happens. The dialog boxes are assigned to the X, Y and B buttons on the Xbox controller, as conversation happens in the game, you are given just seconds to respond, or else the game forces you into a dialogue decision. I am sort of on the fence about this so far. On one hand, the conversations flow much more naturally. On the other hand, if for some reason you miss a prompt, you could potentially change the outcome of the game, which seems like a harsh consequence. We will see how things play out going forward.
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    KingBadfish's Oxenfree (XBONE)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 24 September, 2017

    KingBadfish's opinion and rating for this game

    This game forces players to deal with some serious real world issues all while while playing a pretty fun game. Very thought provoking. I'm definitely going to play it through a second time.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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